Author: Louise Lyons
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 200 Pages
At a Glance: Suspense, drama and well-written characters make Cervena a recommendable read.
Reviewed By: Maryann
Blurb: When Joel Jones finds homeless Russian Sasha outside his gay nightclub in Prague, he cannot find it in his heart to turn him away, so he offers him a home and a job as a dancer and stripper.
Despite a fifteen-year age gap, romance develops between them but is interrupted when Joel has to return to England for many weeks to deal with a death in the family.
Upon his return, Joel is horrified to discover his business partner, Karel, has gambled away the club’s money and put them all at risk. Joel buys him out of the club, but when Karel continues to gamble, the people he owes pursue Joel for the debt instead—and they’ll stop at nothing to get paid.
Suddenly Joel and those he cares about—especially Sasha—are in danger, and Joel finds himself with no choice but to seek the help of known criminal, Vincenc Jankovic. Ensuring a happy future for himself and Sasha will mean a struggle and some difficult decisions, but Joel is determined to protect what they’ve built together.
Review: Cervena is a first time read for me from Louise Lyons. Most of the story is told from Joel’s POV, but it’s told in such a way that you don’t forget about the other important characters in the book.
Joel Jones has accomplished a lifelong dream. He’s part owner of a gay nightclub, Eervena, located in Prague. Joel’s a very loving character, not only with his family but also his staff at the nightclub. He’s a strong man who lives by his own set of morals. He’s respectful of his employees—they’re never threatened or forced to do anything inappropriate. Joel also seems to be protecting his heart, and that leads to a misunderstanding.
Sasha is a young man from Russia. His being gay made for a difficult home life and lead him to live on the streets. Joel finds him outside the club and gives Sasha a chance to get healthy and improve his life. When Joel leaves suddenly, because of a family illness, Sasha’s not sure where he fits in with Joel.
Karel Doubrava, needless to say, is not a very nice character. Although, Joel knows of Karel’s sleazy ways, he seemed to give him the benefit of the doubt. When Joel returns from London, he can’t believe what’s happened. He finds Karel is in way over his head with gambling debts, dragging Joel and Sasha into devastation and danger within the seedy underworld of a European mobster.
Cervena has some violence, suspense and drama, but Ms. Lyons also provides us with fun and a second chance at love. Besides Joel and Sasha’s solid characterizations, I liked the warm family connection Joel has with his sister. There’s also a fun group of dancing boys who bring their own special personalities to the storyline.
You can buy Cervena here: